The Archive Collection

From the Archives: Billy Graham & Bob Hope

March 23, 2021

Billy Graham was a strong advocate for honoring our nation’s heritage. In 1970, he, along with Bob Hope, J. Willard Marriott, and Hobart Lewis, encouraged Americans to meet at the Reflecting Pool on the Mall in Washington, D.C. on the Fourth of July and remember the traditions and principles of the our nation’s leaders when our country was founded. This event led to the founding of a non-profit called “Honor America,” which organizes patriotic events.

Billy Graham speaks at the “Honor America Day” service from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., on July 4, 1970

In 1974, as our country was celebrating the bicentennial, “Honor America” had some commemorative plates produced. This month’s archives feature is one of those plates given to Billy Graham by Bob Hope.

Bob Hope and Billy Graham were good friends. They enjoyed playing golf together from time to time. Billy also appeared at shows Bob Hope held in Vietnam for the U.S. troops stationed there.

When Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip visited the White House during the Ford administration, both Billy Graham and Bob Hope were among the invitees. Hope was providing the entertainment for the evening, and before he went on, he said to Billy Graham, “Billy, I don’t have anything to say tonight. My mind has gone blank, and I don’t have any prepared monologue as I normally do. Would you mind if I just tell about you and me playing golf? The Queen knows you, so maybe I could get a few laughs from her.”

Billy Graham plays golf with Bob Hope in 1971

In his autobiography, Just As I Am, Billy recounts what happened, “Knowing Bob, I was never surprised with anything he came up with. That evening, he recounted how I would kneel in the sand traps (he claimed), presumably to pray my way out. He described how I would walk on water at those hazards! Yet, he said he always won. ‘Would you like to know the secret of my winning?’ he asked, glancing at the Queen. ‘I cheat!’ He got the roar of laughter he always did.”

To see more of Billy Graham’s memorabilia from his friendships with celebrities and world leaders, plan your visit to the Billy Graham Library.

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